Texas linebacker’s tweet raises $30,000 for his mother’s surgery

Texas running back Daje Johnson (4) pulls down a pass for a touchdown against Dalton Santos (55) and Adrian Colbert (26) during the first half of the Orange and White spring NCAA college football game on April 19 in Austin, Texas. (Michael Thomas/AP)

Dalton Santos, a 6-foot-3, 240-pound linebacker for the Texas Longhorns, made a huge difference for his mom with a 140-character missive. Simultaneously, he reminded the world that college football players have no money.

So far, Santos’s tweet has helped raise nearly $30,000 from 476 donors for his mom Mary Vista Santos’s open-heart surgery on the free online fundraising site YouCaring.com. The goal is to hit $75,000 in the next 23 days to repair Vista Santos’s aortic aneurysm and help her maintain her life as an uninsured single mom with three kids, the site says.

She is a nurse and spends her days caring for others. Now she needs to learn how to let others care for her, even if only for a short time.

The initial fundraising goal was $5,000, the Houston Chronicle reports, but after Santos tweeted his request, the amount changed because of the overwhelmingly positive response.

The NCAA allows the families of players to accept donations under bylaw, according to the Texas compliance office. But one wonders if an NCAA athlete was in need, would he be able to accept donations? Obviously, schools would cover medical expenses, but what about fans being able to donate money so players, can, you know, eat?

Not right now. Last year, Kansas fan Matt Murphy actually tried it, starting an Indiegogo campaign to create a salary for freshman player Andrew Wiggins in the hopes that he would remain a Jayhawk for his sophomore year. It didn’t end well, RockChalkBlog.com reports. On Nov. 14, the page went dark, most likely because it went against NCAA rules.

“[Murphy's] premise about ‘this is legal under NCAA rules’ is incorrect,” the University of Kansas’ Jim Marchiony told RockChalkBlog. “He obviously didn’t talk to anyone who knows NCAA rules well.”

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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